Choose Your Freak Out! NOW FIGHT! (Global Pandemic Edition)

One thing I’ve noticed by watching but not participating in social media over the last few months, it doesn’t matter how complex a situation is, people like to act like they’ve got the answers. Even though there are multiple things to worry about, people feel compelled to pick one particular thing to freak out about, and by golly, they’re gonna try and shame anybody who has picked a different particular to freak out about. So if you’re having a come apart about one thing, somebody will yell at you that your thing is stupid, and you should be more worried about their thing instead which is obviously far more important than your dumb thing.

For this epic battle our basic teams are: The Corona Virus is gonna kill us all, Trying to stop the Corona Virus is killing the economy, and Trying to stop #1 and/or #2 will result in government Tyranny/Stupidity/Overreach.

(in reality, these all suck, they’re all bad, a rational person can be concerned about all of them, and there aren’t any simple answers, but oh well. This is the internet, where we say fuck your nuance!)

I noticed this is a lot like picking your fighter in Mortal Kombat—only the Facebook Global Pandemic version is way more annoying—so let’s break down their different special attacks, counters, combos, and finishing moves.

Which is the greatest threat!? Who will win?! CHOOSE YOUR FREAK OUT!

#1. Corona Pandemica, Master of Kung Flu.

This appears to be our most popular character, and is a real powerhouse, high mobility fighter. Your goal is to keep everyone pinned in their corner (a mandatory six feet away, obviously).

Your winning strategy is to share every doom and gloom click bait article possible. Always go with the worst-case scenario estimates, even the ones that have been discredited still work. Reach for the stars. The higher the body count the better.

Speed Attack – Flatten the curve!

Power Attack – “Corona Virus can live for 36 days on all surfaces—including those that are on fire—is airborne for up to 300 miles, can survive sunlight, radiation, lava, lightning, harsh language, and is an excellent tree climber that can infect your gold fish.” Remember, watching CNN basically makes you an epidemiologist, so you don’t have to take crap off anyone.

Counter – Whenever anybody posts anything vaguely positive, how the worst case estimates are unlikely, most countries aren’t dropping like flies, or that the end is in sight, you should immediately dodge their actual point and instead pretend they said “Herp Derp, iT iS oNlY ThE Flu!” so you can safely dismiss them as idiots.

Combo – When the Economy player goes for a combo, press X to activate “You want Grandma to die so billionaires can have another yacht! I AM DISGUSTED.”

Vulnerability – Having to eventually pay your bills. Boredom.

Fatality – Everyone stays home forever, dies alone, and is eaten by their pets.

#2. Thirty Percent Unemployment, Son of the Great Depression

The economic argument is a powerful midgame player which capitalizes on the fact that shit costs money, and magic unicorns aren’t going to slide down a rainbow farting rent money.

Your winning strategy is to get people to admit the basic undeniable reality that this bullshit we’re doing now can’t go on indefinitely.

Speed Attack – I really want tacos. We should go get tacos.

Power Attack – Press A+B to launch Government Stimulus Package. PIGS RAIN FROM THE SKY!

Counter – When player 1 goes all wannabe stasi and calls 911 to report you for being outside, press Y to flash your Essential Employee Badge. “Suck it, Karen, these toilet paper shelves ain’t gonna stock themselves!”

Combo – American ingenuity, 3D printing ventilators, and Pillow Guy.

Vulnerability – Feelings. Actually catching the virus at work and dying from it.

Fatality – Grandma actually does die, but your new yacht is pretty bad ass.

#3. Comrade Gestapo

Saying that the government is going to become increasingly tyrannical because of all this unprecedented overreach is the least popular player, usually reserved for cranky libertarians, but is a powerful late game finisher.

Speed Attack – Am I being detained?

Power Attack – Press X for a real time demonstration that the government sucks at quite literally everything, how at best they’re incompetent, at worst they’re maliciously evil, and that they’ll never let a crisis go to waste… Wow. That is one depressing power attack.

Counter – When the economy people launch Government Stimulus Package, press back and B to engage Pork Shield. “Ha! I paid too much taxes last year so I don’t get a check! Wait… What? Shit.”

Combo – After years of being yelled at that you are paranoid, and don’t really need guns or food storage, press Y to engage Schadenboner, then press A to laugh at your formerly anti-gun friends when they try to borrow a gun from you because NICS is down, the prisoners have been let out of jail, and the cops have all called in sick.

Vulnerability – You sound like an uncaring dork talking about all this while people are sick or losing their jobs. Also, Carol Baskin.

Fatality – Defying all the laws of physics, you somehow manage to DRIVE A TRAIN ONTO A BOAT.


Boss Fights

Like all good fighting games, after you’ve battled your way through the other playable characters, now you have to take on the bosses.

Up first you have to fight the News Media. They seem really powerful, but just remember that they’re totally useless hacks, who are absolutely full of shit, and lying their asses off about quite literally everything, and you’ll be fine. If there has ever been a better example in all of American history of what a bunch of useless, vapid, preening, self-important, disconnected from reality, assholes the media is, I can’t think of it.

Just spam punch, and eventually they’ll crumble. For a fatality, once they get laid off tell them to learn to code.

After that you have to get through the mandatory Orange Man Bad stage. This is where you get continually pummeled by morons on the left saying that everything bad in the world is Trump’s ignorant fault, while also being screeched at by morons on the right saying that everything good in the world is Trump’s benevolent doing.

Luckily, both sides are idiots, and not every topic in the fucking universe has to boil down to their idiot team sports. These boring idiots are compelled to make quite literally everything about Trump so just dodge out of the way and let them keep screaming at each other.

(on that note, I think it is hilarious that it turns out the morons who drank fish tank cleaner because “trump told them too” turn out to be huge Hillary supporters with TDS, and the wife has a history of mental problems, break downs, and has been talking about divorcing her husband for years. Wasn’t the murderer taking a less lethal dose of the same poison as the victim to avoid suspicion a plot on Murder She Wrote?)

Then we’ve got our final boss fight, Xi Jinping, aka Winnie the Flu (and just saying that will get anyone reading this post in communist China thrown into a prison camp), because let’s be honest, if this totalitarian piece of shit hadn’t wasted months silencing dissident doctors for trying to warn the world about this virus, and the WHO hadn’t unquestioningly kissed his ass, we wouldn’t be in this mess to begin with.

This is one heck of a boss fight. His attacks consist of having CNN regurgitate his obvious bullshit propaganda without question (oh yeah, we’ve like totally had zero new cases since we kicked all the disloyal reporters out of our country, and somehow the US media is all like YAY CHINA IS MY BEST FRIEND!). Of course, the self-loathing idiots from the previous rounds will all rally around the communist party as being the real heroes now, for donating faulty medical equipment to countries currently battling the problem the communists covered up to begin with. The only way to win this fight is for companies to move their vital production out of China, home, or at least to countries that don’t actively despise us.

Congratulations. If you win the game, your trophy looks like Andrew Cuomo’s nipple rings. Like I warned you above, this game really sucks.

Fantastic Hope, available this week. Stories by me, Laurell, KJA, Patricia Briggs, Jonathan Maberry, L.E. Modesitt, and more
I'm Doing a Live Reading from Destroyer of Worlds, Friday Night

61 thoughts on “Choose Your Freak Out! NOW FIGHT! (Global Pandemic Edition)”

  1. #ChinaMike disagrees with the maligning references to his comrade fanbase. They are all perfectly healthy. No Bots died from China Flu.

  2. This is the first video game I’ve played since we threw away the family Atari 2600 and I have to say, I don’t much care for it.

    1. What? You’re missing out, and now is the perfect time to see what you’ve missed! They’ve come a long, long way!

      They’re obviously not for everyone, but it’s like saying you’ve not seen a movie since ‘Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat!’

      1. Ah yes, seeing Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat was indeed an experience, the likes of which I’m assume cinema has not been able to match.

  3. “If you win the game, your trophy looks like Andrew Cuomo’s nipple rings.”

    The only winning move is not to play.

  4. Don’t forget in multiplayer all classes have the Echo Chamber ability. They all huddle up (6 feet away in Corona Pandemica’s case) and work each other into a frenzy sharing news stories, blog posts, pithy videos, and third hand anecdotes for a temporary power boost.

    1. Tom Stranger is an unlockable character in all video games. The method for doing so is a closely guarded secret, known only to manatees.

  5. “Grandma actually does die, but your new yacht is pretty bad ass.”

    AAAND I’m dead. Hilarious.


    I laughed so hard, I cried.

    Thank you, this was sorely needed.

  7. “Grandma actually does die, but your new yacht is pretty bad ass.”

    My grandma died, you heartless monster! Okay, fine, that was twenty years ago and it was cancer that did her in, but still! FEELINGS!!!

    1. *Gigglesnort*

      Sanders and Biden; why does anybody think these two old geezers would last even one year as POTUS? The Job sucks the life out of people, and they ain’t got all that much left.

      Trump’s ability to do four years without looking like a victim of The Mummy (the Brandon Frasier version, thanks) amazes me. But he apparently LIKES the donnybrook. It seems to energize him.

      I didn’t vote FOR Trump. I voted AGAINST the head of the Clinton Crime Family. I thought Trump wopuild be an ineffectual clown. I was wrong. I don’t agree with him on everything, but anybody who irritates the likes of Nasty Pelosi as much as he does is doing a fine job.

    2. Easiest boss fight ever, hire a couple exotic dancers willing to be groped for money then grab the loot and run.

  8. Thank you for this, my simultaneous Team 2 and Team3 play throughs have had me depressed. This gave me a chuckle.

    1. I’ve been doing a combined Team 1 and 3 playthrough and it just confuses people. I mean, it’s like they can’t grasp the idea that if we don’t isolate ourselves voluntarily to beat this thing then the FedGov will take advantage of the weakness and grab even more power.

      Then there’s Team 4, which is the Tinfoil Rangers approach and fueled by equal measures logic and blind assumptions made on WAG theory.

  9. I guess the ankle-biters complaining about anyone saying “Wu-Flu” or “Pangolin Pandemic” don’t qualify as boss fights, but they’re handy tools for the GM to bring player’s HP down before the boss.

  10. Then you have the people that are shoplifting clothes in Wal-Mart, then trying to evade prosecution by claiming that they hav COVID-19, to keep from being detained for the cops arrived.

    Someone tried this in Kentucky, I believe, and the police found out the perp hadn’t even seen a medical professional since 2017.

  11. Personal opinion: (based on having gone through a few of these things with my Respiratory Therapist wife over the past three decades)

    I don’t think we’re going to see the same level of numbers as we did with H1N1 back in 2009-10. Even if we do exceed 12k deaths, it won’t be by that much more.

      1. Ummm … I think that number was just for the US. I just read something about that today, but can’t remember where.

        1. Well, I feel foolish for not double-checking my sources. You are correct that the number I gave was for the US. I didn’t dig deep enough into the “global” number I was reading (some places really _do_ seem to think the US is all that matters.

          So, 18,000 deaths in the US, but no solid global numbers, because many nations didn’t report it or monitor it, so it’s somewhere between 151,700–575,400. Which is a large range.

          Of the infected, however, that would put the death rate at around .03% of those that catch it. Currently, the most recent array of examinations puts Covid-19 at 1.38% fatality rate per infection, which is a lot higher, and that’s with all the pandemic protocols in effect and taking into account countries with low death rates (comparatively to say, Italy).

          Since I checked and got the last number of deaths (which was two days ago) the death toll has, as of a few hours ago, surpassed 51,000 people globally. The US has contributed 6,000 of those, well on track to best H1N1 still.

          Not that it’s a good thing. But this one’s definitely proving a worse disease.

          1. It’s not 1.38% per infection, but 1.38% per reported case. Data from Iceland and the cruise ship show about 50% of the people who test positive for Covid-19 show no symptoms, and another 25 – 30 percent have such mild symptoms that they don’t seek medical help. So the fatality rate per infection is considerably lower than half of 1.38%. More than .03%, probably, but maybe not too far above some past bad flu seasons.

  12. Best analysis I’ve read. Then again I’m a cynical old ex-Army PA who is about done with this crap already. And has no moral qualms about triage.

    I do slightly loathe myself for that, but not much.

    1. GalaxyJane,
      I couldn’t agree with you more, Larry’s observations are bang on the money and humorously put too. What a great writer he is! (IMHO) 🙂
      As someone who’s son has just this week qualified as a medical doctor in the UK and who’s cystic daughter had a double lung transplant two years ago and is in self isolation with my wife, I am aware of the risks both are exposed, to but like you I have no moral qualms about triage either! So don’t loathe yourself even a little bit, I think you’re one of the few grownups in the game.
      In the meantime, come on Larry how about a short story in the MHI universe – while you are in lock down.
      Stay safe folks.

      1. Right now it is tough to be one of the grownups in the room. Particularly one who can do the math.

        But we’ll all come through this one way or another.

        You and your family stay safe as well.

  13. The “Democratic” “People’s” “Republic” of Korea has a strategy for Wuhan Flu:
    9:00, 3 patients reported positive for COVID-19.
    9:17, No patients reported positive for COVID-19.

  14. What’s up with this game? I’m trying to find the SKIP option that lets me scoot forward to 2021…..
    Isn’t there some kind of patch or DLC that fixes this?

  15. “Xi Jinping, aka Winnie the Flu (and just saying that will get anyone reading this post in communist China thrown into a prison camp)”

    And just like that, Larry got 3,000,000 of China Mike’s bots thrown into re-education camps. 😀

  16. OMIGOD! I can’t beLIEVE you’re FREAKING OUT over people freaking OUT about THAT!!!

  17. Yeah that game does sound like it sucks. But getting to kick the crap out of communist WInnie the Flu might be fun.

  18. Let’s not forget the Secret Villain: Ignorance! It doesn’t matter which side you choose, the other side is automatically stupid and is only fighting you because they can’t possibly think what they do without Ignorance.

    Speed Attack: you can’t possibly believe that because…

    Combo: Only someone who was homeschooled / from public schools / didn’t graduate high school…

    Power attack: Dunning-Kruger!

    Block: That’s racist!

    Finisher: It’s not even worth trying to explain to a cheese-head like you.

  19. As with all classic video games… I’m stuck playing the Eastern European bootleg, of course. Out here, Unemployment is the mandatory tutorial character, Pandemica is considerably nerfed by the Alcoholism bug, and all Comrade Gestapo ever does is suddenly reboot the system and pretend he won the fight.

    Meanwhile, News Media is an easily unlockable playable character for anyone who coughs up enough cash for the Corruption DLC; Orange Man Bad is a bonus boss seen more rarely than Reptile in MK1; and Winnie the Flu only appears if you hack the game and see he’s actually all over the source code… along with Vlad the Eternal, a boss that was added specifically in the bootleg, but may be popular enough to make it to the official version.

    Still, things aren’t too bad out here. I’ve seen reports that an old TB vaccine (BCG – ubiquitous here, not so much in Italy and Spain) coincides with an apparent resistance to the disease – with any luck, it might serve as a stopgap until something better comes up. And our head of state is now going for the “once new cases decline, I’ll drop most restrictions” spiel, which is Balkan for “I’m pressured by the mobsters and megacorps to let them go about their business”. All in all, things just might normalize – or rather, return to the usual doom and gloom out here – in time for the main annual sports event around the Black Sea coast – the Summer Alcoholympics.

    1. That’s the first I’d heard about BCG. I need to look further.

      It was pretty standard for UK kids to get it back in the 1960s. And I was given it at school.

  20. I like the team version of the game.

    Here’s my Loathsome Toads:

    Nancy Pelosi
    Rachel Maddow
    Jim Acosta
    Brian Stelter


  21. A sudden thought I had not long ago:

    The same computer modelers that brought you 240,000 dead from Chinese Wuhan flu also brought us global warming.

    1. Modelers who can’t learn the GIGO rule. Garbage in, garbage out.

      On the bright side, watching the MSM out themselves by quoting that tripe is popcorn time.

      You notice how suddenly nobody gives a shit about who the DemocRat nominee is? I love that. >:D

  22. I think my team is probably ‘all of the foreign countries actively despise us’. It is just that the PRC is willing to spend blood, and, say, the Europeans don’t have the courage to more than opportunistically knife us in the back whenever we aren’t looking.

    There are sane foreign policies that are not xenocidal, but the xenocidal options are a lot more sensible than some of the widespread default schools of thought.

  23. All I can say is that I can’t wait for mods to be developed for this game. Hopefully with some new characters and some bigger weapons. 🙂

  24. Perhaps this is ignorance speaking. Maybe someone here can clear this up for me.

    Fact 1: I keep hearing that the COVID-19 has a much higher fatality percentage than the common flu.

    Fact 2: I also keep hearing that there are not enough testing kits to test everyone, and I personally know people who have been turned away without being tested because they “aren’t showing enough symptoms”.

    If they aren’t able to test everyone, how do they know how fatal (in percentage) the virus is? How many people haven’t been tested because their case didn’t seem extreme enough, but actually had it and just got better? Perhaps I am not understanding their methods, but it seems if you don’t test everyone showing symptoms, your data are incomplete, and if you only test those showing “enough symptoms”, or “severe symptoms”, you are weighting the data you do have towards a pessimistic conclusion.

    Am I wrong?

    1. They don’t know. It’s all speculation based on worst-case models generated when we still only had unreliable data from China.

      Things are a little better now. But we still don’t really know enough about this bug to predict how it will act, and how many people will die from it.

      1. Well, I can’t wait how this will look year from now, (based on covid fatality data and my age I have 99.6% chance of living too see it – actually make it 99.8% given 50% chance I will catch Winnie the Flu (great name))

        The problem with mortality is that everyone is getting it at the same time, once it is circulating in general population like the flu, the cases will spread out and burden on healthcare system wont be as crazy. (There already been reports of ‘secondary’ victims, like increased deaths during childbirth as there is not enough doctors 🙁 ).

        The reaction of western society is based on premise that you can’t put a price on human life, therefore economy can stop, so we can save lives. But I believe once this is over, and secondary deaths will get counted as well (not only due to health issues, but economic as well), putting price on human life will be a simple feat of accounting.

        Another things to watch in the aftermath are places like Hungary, where the prime minister used the crisis to assume dictatorship.

    2. No, you’re not wrong. An antibody test would be even better, because then you’d find out how many people already had it and recovered, how many got it and recovered before the thing was officially here, as well as the sick and officially sick. Then we can get real statistics.

    3. A lot of it is based on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, where they tested everyone on board and about 1/5 of them came back positive. Of those who tested positive, about 1.5% died, last I heard.

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